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Baltimore police officer charged with protecting drug dealer

A Baltimore police officer has been accused of protecting a drug dealer during a heroin transaction and engaging in an identity theft scheme to collect tax refunds.

Ashley Roane has been charged with possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and aggravated identity theft, according to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

The office announced the charges Friday, but the complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Tuesday.

Roane provided protection to a person she believed to be a heroin drug trafficker, but was actually a confidential source with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to an affidavit filed by the FBI. In fall 2012, Roane told the source she could provide a location to sell drugs in her patrol area and keep the source informed of incoming drug searches.

In March, the source asked Roane to check police records to see if a person the source wanted to make a drug deal with was an undercover police officer.

Roane checked and when she confirmed the person had no police record, the source asked her to provide protection during the drug deal.

Roane sat in her police car while on duty and pretended to fill out paperwork while the source retrieved a kilogram of heroin in the parking lot of the Westside Shopping Center on Frederick Avenue. Afterward, Roane met the source at another location and was paid $500 for her protective services. Law enforcement had set up surveillance in the parking lot for the drug deal.

During the transaction, Roane was carrying the gun issued to her by the Baltimore Police Department.

Roane, along with her roommate Erica Hughes, also engaged in an identity theft scheme with the source who they believed was also a tax preparer, according to the complaint.

The roommates approached the source about the scheme: Roane would use a law enforcement database to provide the source with lists of names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth. The source would then check the names to see if they had filed tax returns. If they had not, Roane and Hughes wanted the source to file false tax returns and collect the tax refunds.

On several occasions, Roane and/or Hughes met with the confidential source and provided a list of 30 identities. The source would then purportedly file the returns and split the money, which was actually government funds.